State saw the phenomenon of ‘resort politics’ for the first time in 2004
The ongoing “resort politics” is not a new phenomenon to Karnataka since 2004. It seems to resurface every time the Assembly elections throw up a fractured mandate and there is an effort at horse-trading and poaching of MLAs of rival parties to form the government.
In the latest instance, the BJP — which is short of nine MLAs to form the government — first herded its MLAs to Gurugram in Harayana and is believed to have ventured into luring some Congress MLAs.
The Congress, to keep its MLAs secure and counter the BJP’s strategy, bundled its MLAs to a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru on Friday. This was after four MLAs abstained from the party’s crucial meeting.
Karnataka saw this phenomenon for the first time in 2004 when the Assembly elections threw up a fractured mandate, with BJP bagging 79 seats, Congress 65 and JD(S) 58 in the 224-member Assembly. All the JD(S) members were taken to a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru, while the leaders held parleys with the Congress to form the State’s first coalition government. N. Dharam Singh and Siddaramaiah became the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, respectively, in the Congress–JD(S) coalition government.
A January 2006 photo of H.D. Kumaraswamy with B.C. Patil at a resort in Bengaluru.
The scenario repeated in 2006, when the JD(S) under H.D. Kumaraswamy decided to go with the BJP. All JD(S) MLAs were herded to a Goa resort to enable the formation of the JD(S)–BJP coalition government. Mr. Kumaraswamy and B.S. Yeddyurappa became the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, respectively.
The BJP adopted this method again in 2008, when it fell three seats short of majority. The BJP had won 110 seats while the Congress had won 80. First the Independents and later several Congress and JD(S) MLAs were taken to resorts and induced to resign from their seats and contest again on BJP ticket, under the now infamous ‘Operation Lotus’. Politics in resorts had become a frequent affair during the BJP regime (2008-13) which saw three Chief Ministers.
After the 2018 Assembly elections in May, the Congress moved its legislators to a resort to prevent them from being poached by the BJP.
In 2017, Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar kept 44 legislators from Gujarat at a resort near Bidadi on the outskirts of the city ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections as a number of the party MLAs had defected to the BJP.
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